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11 Reasons to Bublr to Milwaukee’s Central Library – Today!

Central Library opened on Wisconsin Ave. in 1898. How long has it been since you’ve stopped in? Is it possible that – gasp! – you’ve never been here?

Good news! Central Library can be your go-to spot for more than mystery novels – they own a HUGE collection of books, music, DVDs, vinyl records, and more, plus comfy work space, Wi-Fi, and reference materials. There’s also a Bublr Station right across the street from Central Library. [It takes about 10 minutes to Bublr there from downtown, 20 minutes from the East Side.]

Ready to be inspired? Here’s why you should Bublr to Central Library:

  1. Take a tour of the building. It’s a no-brainer – the tour at Central Library should be on your Milwaukee to-do list. The building is amazing and your tour guide will have the inside scoop on everything. Chris Murphy, our tour guide and the library’s communications & marketing expert, taught us that Central Library used to be home to the Milwaukee Public Museum. She also mentioned that MPM people kept a PET LION on the 4th floor. Tours are on Saturdays at 11am. They start in the rotunda on Wisconsin Ave. [The lion no longer lives upstairs.]


    Central Library is more than books – you can also pick up sheet music and records.

  2. Check out a non-book – like vinyl or sheet music. “When everybody thinks of the library, they think of books,” Chris told us. But Central Library also has vinyl records and sheet music! It’s a lot of classical, as one might expect, but they’ve got 1970s LPs and contemporary songbooks, too.
  3. Read the latest issue of Dogster Magazine. Central Library has 1,000 subscriptions to magazines and newspapers and thousands of back issues – dating back to the 1800s. You can check out magazines on sports, design, business, and super-specific hobbies.
  4. Go work in a new spot. The library is Milwaukee’s original co-working space. When you can work remotely, a change of scenery is the ticket to being more productive. It’s a snap to connect to library Wi-Fi on your own device or you can check out a laptop to use around the building.
  5. Start up a book club. You can request and pick up the library’s Book Club kits, which have 8-10 copies of a book and the book’s discussion guide. [Pinot Grigo is NOT included.]
  6. Be inspired by 20th century graphic arts. Central Library has antique travel, beer, and concert posters – many from Milwaukee’s own Gugler Lithographic Company. You need to hang out with the librarian at the Art, Music & Recreation desk to see ‘em. Who knows? That work could spark an idea for a 21st century graphic designer or design student.
  7. See what your Tom Petty memorabilia is worth. If you watch Antiques Roadshow or used to own Beanie Babies, you’ll be right at home in Central Library. They have reference guides that can be used to identify, evaluate, and price collectibles and antiques – from Americana to Zippo.


    Find your family’s house on a map of Milwaukee from the early 1900s.

  8. Research your family’s genealogy. Take a beginner’s class at Central Library to learn how you can build a family tree. They also have lots of resources for you to use in your independent research – like access to searchable databases, old maps, and photos.
  9. See what’s in the Krug Rare Books Room. The neatest books in the library are in the Rare Books Room. They have rare items that aren’t books, too – like a Milwaukee map drawn in 1836 and two Paramount Records sets with tracks by Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Ma Rainey. You may have also heard about the library’s Autograph Book, which has 2,300 signatures of famous people collected between 1896 and 1898. Central Library’s rare collection has more than 16,000 books, prints, maps, and other items. It’s available by appointment only so be sure to plan ahead.
  10. Discover the history behind your Milwaukee house. You probably live(d) in a house that’s somewhere around Milwaukee. Find out more about the place! In the library’s Humanities department, you can learn who built your home, who the original owners might’ve been, and how your humble abode looked back in the day.
  11. Buy a used book for $1. Central Library sells donated books or books that aren’t needed on the shelf. Remember in 2003 when you HAD to read “The Da Vinci Code” and the library owned 90 copies? They don’t need ‘em all anymore. You can pick up most books for $1. To stop by The Bookseller, come in the Wisconsin Ave. entrance and take a hard right in the rotunda.

Many thanks to Chris Murphy at Milwaukee Public Library for a wonderful tour, and to the Central Library department leads for sharing special things about the building’s resources with us! You’re all the best.